Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm Baaaack!

Firstly, sorry for the extended leave of absence... Unfortunately I haven't really had access to a kitchen for quite a while, and if I said that my finances were in a place where I could afford to cook interesting food I'd be lying.

Anyways, I've finally started work and things are starting to look up :) Apparently I'm not going to be an energy engineer after all, I'll be working as a production engineer with all the day to day joys that go along with making sure a chemical plant keeps working!

Basically, I should be back to posting soon and I'm still alive! Thanks for sticking with me!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

HYSYS Stole My Soul (aka: why I fell off the face of the earth)

Hi there ChemEGirl Cooks followers!

So, I haven't updated for a while... I'm fine, but school is getting in the way of my life... specifically HYSYS and Matlab are getting in the way of my life!

^^^^ That is HYSYS ^^^^^

What does it do, you may ask? It steals your soul It can be used to design chemical plants! I'm currently "building" a plant that makes dicyclopentadiene out of cyclopentadiene, and writing a 50+ page report on it. That's not my process, mine involves lots of reactors and distillation columns and tanks, but it gives you the general idea.

I also have a coding project in Matlab for my numerical methods class, a take-home test for nanotechnology, a formal report for senior lab and a test Thursday in my HSE class.
Basically, it's hell week.

ChemEGirl cooks should start getting updated again after this weekend, once I'm done with classes FOREVER!!!!! (can you tell I'm excited to graduate, maybe just a little bit... :D )
I'll also probably be MIA for a little while while I move. Exciting stuff!
Thanks for your patience, and if anyone wants to do my homework hit me up in the comments section :)

All I have left to do now is the math project and some plant design!!!! Almost there!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Gnocchi Sans Gluten

It's Friday, Friday, Gonna Get Down On Friday!
I'll shut up now :)

I don't have classes Friday afternoons, so this is the time I do the "heavy-duty" cooking that needs to happen for next week. Aka: the stuff that takes a while to make and uses just about every pan, utensil and dish in my kitchen.

I'm a big fan of Italian food, and one of my favorite things that I can no longer eat is gnocchi. Those little dumplings just make me all sorts of happy :) I keep checking the labels in the grocery store, in vain, for some wheat free gnocchi... but apparently that's one thing that hasn't been translated over yet. So for my heavy-duty cooking this week I made gnocchi!

Gnocchi (Makes ~ 8 dozen)
~2.5 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 Cups Rice Flour
2 Eggs, beaten
Salt - to taste

First off, remove all rings, watches and bracelets... you'll thank me later. Otherwise, enjoy picking bits of potato out of your jewelry...

Boil your potatoes in salted water until they can be easily poked through with a fork, reserve about 1 Cup of the potato water. Using a potato masher (or a potato ricer, if you've got fancy kitchen stuff) squish the potatoes until there aren't any chunks left. Put the flour, eggs, 1/2 Tbsp salt and potatoes into a really big bowl. Knead it together, with your scrupulously clean hands, until it forms into a big ball. If it's too sticky add more flour, if it's too dry add a little of the potato water you reserved earlier. 
You can see my dough was a bit sticky, so I had to add some more flour...

Grab an orange sized chunk of the potato dough and roll it into a snake...  you know, like you made with play-dough in kindergarten. It should be around 1/2" wide.

Then you're going to cut the rope up into 1/2" chunks and boop them on the head squish them a bit with a fork so they have a cute little pattern on top. (I seriously said "boop" every time I squished one, it makes it a bit more interesting :D ) I put mine onto waxed paper lined baking sheets.

Now you're left with two options: cook them now or store them in the fridge for a while.
If you want to cook them right now, put them into boiling salted water and cook for around 3 minutes. They'll float to the top when they're done.

Serving suggestions: spaghetti sauce or just a little bit of butter and garlic. 

Edit: I tried freezing these and then thawing them after a few weeks, it was a disaster... :( It could be because the gnocchi I made were too dry, but more likely the lack of gluten means the starch doesn't bind together as well

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I finally made curry!

Exciting news over in my corner of the apartment today!
I made one of my favorite curries today: chicken korma curry
AND I managed to make it wheat and gluten free, AND it turned out good!
I'm kinda freaking out right now :D

Here's the recipe! Sorry for the long ingredients list, but I promise it's worth it :) I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Chicken Korma Curry - wheat and dairy free!
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, cut up into small pieces
100 mL Coconut milk, from a can, and do not use the light kind!
1 Large yellow onion, diced
1 - 1" Piece of ginger, grated or finely chopped
4 Cloves garlic
4 Tbsp ground almonds *see note*
1 Tbsp Tomato paste
4 Tbsp Vegetable oil
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
2" piece of stick cinnamon, bruised
3 Whole cardamom pods
2 Whole cloves
100 mL of water
1 tsp Ground coriander
1 tsp Cumin powder
1 tsp Garam Masala

For The Marinade:
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Cumin powder
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder 
1 Small cup Coconut or Soy based unflavored yogurt (~50 g or 6 Tbsp)

Chop the garlic, ginger and onion. Add half to a bowl and store the other half for later.
Put the chicken, yogurt, and marinade spices into the bowl with the garlic, ginger and onion. Allow it to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 mins, longer is better!

After the 30 minutes are up, or you're ready to cook:
Get the onion mix and the marinated chicken out of the fridge. Heat the oil in a large fry-pan over medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon, cardamom pods and cloves to the oil and fry for a few seconds. Add the remaining onion mix and fry until golden brown and fragrant. Add the almonds and tomato paste and stir well, then add the coriander, cumin and garam masala. Stir in the marinated chicken and add the coconut milk, add the salt and sugar to the pan and stir well. Add the water and simmer for ~15 minutes until chicken is tender, stirring occasionally. Serve with rice or wheat-free naan (I have yet to find any, but Tulsa doesn't have the best selection of wheat-free groceries)

*note about the almonds: you can use almond flour for this, or grind some slivered almonds in a coffee grinder. Almond butter also may work, as long as it is unsweetened.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Pasta" Salad With Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Alright, its getting way too hot!

It's April 1st, not July 1st! The high is supposed to be 89F today... That's getting past the point of "Ooooh! Its nice outside!" and getting into "Eeeew! Sweat!" territory. If you've been to Tulsa, you understand that once it gets past about 75F you've got some serious humidity going on... gross!

Anywho, I decided to make "pasta" salad for lunch today (and probably dinner too... yay leftovers!) because I have no desire to make my apartment any hotter. So here ya go :)

"Pasta" Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes
1 lb Quinoa & Corn blend pasta
1 Cup Chopped sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1 Cup Green olives, pitted (you can use the manzanilla olives with pimentos, it still turns out well)
1 Cup Fresh basil
2 Cloves garlic
1/3 Cup Extra virgin olive oil
Zest and Juice of 1 Large Lemon
3/4 Parmesan cheese (omit if you're dairy free like me!)
Salt and Pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain but reserve 1 cup of cooking water. Rinse under cold water and toss with a little oil and parmesan cheese.

In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, olives, basil, garlic, oil, lemon juice, cooking water and lemon zest. Process until it is well combined but still somewhat chunky. Pour over the pasta and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I'm On A Fish Kick!

Okay, a quick explanation for the large number of fish recipes I've posted lately... I went to Sam's club with my friend, and bought a huge bag of sole fillets, chicken tenders and shrimp. Seeing as I'm trying to use up all my freezer meat before I move in May, there's going to be a bunch of fish, shrimp and chicken recipes on the blog, ok? :)

One of my friends is turning 22 on Monday, so I cooked us dinner and we went to see a movie! Here's what we ate:
Easy Sole Meuniere:
1/2 C Flour mix
4 Sole fillets, 3 to 4 ounces each
6 Tbsp "Butter"
1 tsp Lemon zest
6 Tbsp Lemon juice
1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, minced
Salt and Pepper

Combine flour, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper in a shallow bowl. Pat the fillets dry and sprinkle with salt on one side.
Heat 3 Tbsp of butter in a large pan over medium heat until it starts to brown. Quickly dredge 2 of the fillets in the flour and place in the pan. Lower heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes. Flip over and continue to cook, add 1/2 tsp of lemon zest and 3 Tbsp lemon juice to the pan and cook until golden brown and the fish flakes easily. Carefully put the fillets on a plate and place in a 200F oven to keep warm. Repeat with the other 2 fillets.

I served this with pasta as we were pressed for time, but I would highly recommend mashed potatoes. The sauce from the fish is really good!

Versatile Blogger Award, Whaaaat?!?

I wish I'd known, I would've prepared a speech.... I mean, gosh, I'm stunned.... I'd like to thank all the awesome people who've made this possible.... my family, my friends, my food processor.....

I love blogging, I guess I didn't start one earlier because I had no idea that there was such a thing as a "food blog" but I couldn't go without it now! I love the community online that helps me deal with the changes in my life and supports my efforts to make wheat and dairy free food, that most importantly tastes good :)
I hope you check out the sites I've listed below, there are some really amazing blogs out there who don't get anywhere near the recognition they deserve!

But anyways, I digress. First off, a HUGE THANK YOU to Peter for not only smiling upon me & my Blog but for your awesome blog, I hope everyone that happens upon this will pop by your blog to check it out...... and BTW, his Jacked Up Turkey Burgers look pretty dang awesome!

The moment you've all been waiting for, here are my nominees! Please check them out!
  • Carolina at La Cucina Prima Donna, she has some incredible recipes and I look forward to trying them all out in time!
  • Jacqueline at The Dusty Baker, you inspire me to keep baking even though I can't have milk or wheat!
  • Toby at Plate Fodder, you have a hilarious writing style and awesome recipes.
  • Allen at Cook! Bake! Share! .... no explanation needed, yum!
  • Angela at Oh She Glows. Because even though I'm not vegan, her mac and cheeze makes me not miss dairy so much :)
  • Heather at Heather's Dish. I only hope I can take amazing photographs like that someday!
  • Maria at Flavors of Mumbai, I'm a sucker for good Indian food!
  • Nicole at Gluten-Free on a Shoestring. As a college student I can sympathize with the name of this website, and all her food looks so good!
  • Natalie at Gluten Free Mommy. She has some great ideas for quick and easy gluten free dishes for weeknight!
  • Vanessa at Mango Ginger. I love reading about your life in Bangkok and trying out your recipes!
  • Sarah at My New Roots has some incredible (and super healthy) recipes
  • Terri at A Daily Obsession. Back before the food allergies started, her recipe for eggless tiramisu was in constant demand among my friends.
  • Jamie at Gluten Free Mom, her flour recipe was the first one I tried, and even though I've tried several since I still think its the best!
  • Michelle at Gluten Free Fix is awesome about pointing out how here recipes can also be made dairy free, also huge congratulations to her as she's pregnant!
  • Hannah at Celiac Girl and Her Adventures. One of my sister's and good friends' blogs, she seriously knows all the tricks for being wheat and dairy free :)
That's everyone! I hope you enjoy their blogs as much as I've enjoyed them!

I'm supposed to tell you 7 things about me, so here goes:
  • As an engineer, I have a whole collection of nerd humor and I'm slightly addicted to the big bang theory!
  • I'm known as the "domestic one" in the Chemical Engineering department, as it is not unusual for me to bring cookies to the lab.
  • I've worked as everything from a lab technician, to a security guard to a Taco Bell manager... 
  • I grew up in Northern England and Colorado, and have amazing parents who share my passion for food.
  • I can't wait to have a nicer kitchen, I'll definitely be posting pictures of my food once that happens! 
  • The farmers market where I'm moving to meets right next to my apartment complex, *super excited!!!*
  • I am so fortunate to have friends and followers who understand my new passion for cooking and support me in those efforts!
P.S.: here's the official "rules" I'm supposed to repost for those of you I've named above
  • Thank the person who gave you this award. 
  • Include a link to their blog.
  • Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. 
  • Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself. 
There are also a few add-on rules:
  • In the same post, include this set of rules. 
  • Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs
So, what is the Versatile Blogger Award? ”It is a great way to introduce different bloggers to each other and to promote quality blogs that awardees and their readers may not have discovered otherwise.”

Monday, March 26, 2012

Impromptu Dinner Party & Lemon Sole with Polenta

I had a somewhat impromptu dinner party tonight...as in my Big Sis stopped by because she didn't want to go home, and I'd already invited my best friend Jordan over for dinner... yay!
Lucky for them I love cooking for people!
I actually just love having people around, but sharing a meal that you've cooked is special :)

So for our impromptu dinner party I made Lemon Sole and Polenta!

Lemon Sole
1 Cup gluten free flour mix (see the chocolate chip cookie post)
Salt and Pepper
4 Large sole fillets
5 Tbsp Butter substitute (I like Earth Balance, it tastes like butter!)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup slivered almonds
1/4 Cup drained capers
1 small lemon, sliced paper thin

For the Fish:
Put the flour in a shallow bowl, season with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish in the flour and tap off the excess. Melt 1 Tbsp of the butter and add 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fillets two at a time and cook until golden and crisp (~4 min), turning once. Transfer into a dish and cover with foil, put into the microwave or oven to keep warm. Cook the other two fillets in the same manner, adding another Tbsp of butter and oil to the pan.
To prepare the sauce:
Add the remaining butter to the pan, add the almonds and toast for about 2 minutes, until they're golden brown. Add the capers and lemon slices and cook until heated through, about another minute.
Spoon the sauce over the fish and serve!

I served this recipe with polenta, basically its Italian Grits... and it's awesome!
I use Gia Russa quick cooking polenta, it says gluten free right on the box!
You boil up some liquid, use broth or milk if you want, I use water. Next you whisk in the polenta and take it off the heat, stir it for a few minutes and its done!
I just let my guests add parmesan cheese or butter if they want, but it was really good with the fish!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

GF/DF Mac and Cheeze!

Happy Sunday!
This is the day of the week I like to try new recipes and don't really do much of anything :)
Anyways, I tried out a new recipe today - because I've been craving mac and cheese like crazy! I found it at this awesome blog called Oh She Glows where they do lots and lots of vegan recipes, including this one for vegan mac and cheese! Although I am not vegan by any stretch of the imagination, my milk allergy makes it pretty much impossible to have any kind of dairy-style sauce...

So without further ado, here is the recipe! I would not suggest eating this or cooking this in a white shirt - the sauce is very orange and does not come out!

Butternut Squash Mac 'n Cheeze (modified from Oh She Glows)
1 C roasted butternut squash or canned butternut squash
1 Tbsp butter substitute
1 C plain (unsweetened, unflavored) almond milk
1 Tbsp cornstarch (or potato starch, I had some leftover from making flour)
7 Tbsp nutritional yeast (see note at end)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or more)
1/2 lb cooked rice pasta

If you're roasting the squash:
Preheat the oven to 425F, chop up the squash into small chunks and drizzle with a large amount of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. Put into a baking dish (or cookie sheet) and roast for 40 min, give it a mix half way through.

For the sauce:
Melt butter over medium-low heat in a medium sauce pan. Whisk together the almond milk and starch in a small bowl until there are no clumps. Add to the pan and whisk together. Stir in the remaining ingredients and whisk over low heat until thickened (5-7 min). Once the squash is roasted, or if using canned squash, add the sauce and the squash to a food processor/blender and puree until smooth. Serve over the cooked pasta. I sprinkled it with some season salt, and that just made it even better!

***About the nutritional yeast: It sounds kinda gross, but it's actually really good - and good for you! It tastes a little like Parmesan cheese with a bit more of a nut flavor. I bought mine at whole foods, don't buy it in bulk if you're gluten free or allergic to wheat - they store it right next to the flour and their brand actually is produced in a facility that processes wheat. I bought the KAL brand that they sell in a big tub - it states wheat free right on the label!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dairy Free Coconut Ice Cream

One of the things I've struggled with the most since I developed my allergies is desserts. Used to be that I would settle down after a long day with a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream, a cookie or a big serving of my apple crisp. I've invested in an ice cream maker and food processor, both of which are extremely handy, and I have to say making my own ice cream is the best! I found this recipe in one of my Thai cookbooks, and its naturally wheat and dairy free, and amazing with chocolate sauce on top! You can sometimes find this at Thai restaurants, and it tastes awesome after a fiery curry.

Coconut Ice Cream (aka: ai-teem ga-ti)
7 Cups unsweetened coconut milk (~4 14oz cans, don't use the light kind...trust me on this)
2 Cups sugar
1 tsp salt

*Read your ice-cream maker's instructions before proceeding, some require you to cook the mixture to dissolve the sugar, others don't*

You can skip the following if your ice cream maker doesn't require you to cook the mixture:
Combine the coconut milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cool to room temperature and cover and chill until very cold.

If your ice cream maker doesn't require you to cook it start here:
Combine all the ingredients in the ice cream maker pail and refrigerate until very cold. Set up the ice cream maker according to your maker's instructions and make the ice cream! This keeps well in the freezer for several weeks.

Why I haven't posted & Hummus Recipe!

So! Some exciting news over in my corner of the US... I'm Moving to Virginia!
I've been in Virginia for the past few days (sorry for the lack of posts) looking at apartments and I got to meet my new boss! He seems really cool and the place I'll be working is massive! I found a great apartment, with, wait for it... an AWESOME kitchen :) So expect lots of recipes, and hopefully some pictures, once I move.

Without further ado, here is my hummus recipe! I eat it with a spoon baby corn, nut thins, carrot sticks... pretty much whatever happens to be around.

1 lb Canned Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 C Water
1/3 C Tahini
1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Add the chickpeas and garlic to the food processor, pulse until mostly chopped up. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until smooth. Keeps well in the fridge (~1 week). Doubles well :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

White Chili

Another family recipe!
My Grandma Selinger, who apparently had some food allergies like me, came up with this recipe for white chili. I am not a fan of tomato-based chili, it's a long story, but this is just right on those days when its cold and gloomy out (like this past Thursday!). I ended up sending the leftovers home with Big and Little, a little too much cheese for me, but its still just as good as I remember from when my mom made it :)

White Chili
3 lbs cooked northern beans, with liquid (the canned ones are fine!)
2 lbs chicken, cut into pieces***
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp dried oregano
2 cans chopped mild green chilies (6 or 7 ounce cans)
4 C chicken broth
12 oz monterey jack cheese, shredded (can be omitted if you're dairy free)

***Either cook the chicken ahead of time, or else buy one of those rotisserie chickens at the grocery store
Cook the onion and garlic, add (cooked) chicken, beans, peppers, spices, and broth. Heat for around 15 minutes, then add the cheese making sure its fully melted into the soup. Serve with additional shredded cheese and sour cream.

My Great-Grandma Iva's Caramels and Constellations

I had hives constellations today on my arms. Gotta lay off the dairy...
Why constellations, you may ask? The conversation went something like this:
Jordan: Why are you drawing on your arms?
Me (trying to avoid HSE homework): I'm making my hives into constellations, this one looks kinda like the big      dipper!
Jordan: You goof!

The following is one of my favorite dessert recipes, I haven't figured out how to modify it to be dairy free yet, but it's on the list of things to do.
So here it is, the long awaited caramel recipe! The recipe is from my Great-Grandma Iva Selinger. These are the ones I normally make and then bring a huge (and I mean huge, like gallon or walmart bag) bag of them to class or to the sorority house. It makes 14 dozen of them, so unless you have a classroom / sorority house / office full of hungry people, try making a half batch.

3 C Granulated Sugar
4 C Whipping cream, divided
2 1/4 C Light corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Butter (to grease the cookie sheet)
1 C Nuts
1/2 Bar paraffin ***
2 Squares unsweetened chocolate

You'll need a candy thermometer (try Target?), a big pot (not nonstick, it gets pretty warm and could make them taste funny), a cookie sheet (not nonstick, you'll scrape the coating off), and a wooden spoon. Put the cookie sheet on a stable surface and grease it with the butter, make sure that you'll have enough room to maneuver your pot over the cookie sheet to pour out the caramel (trust me, nothing burns quite like hot sugar!).

Boil sugar, syrup and 2 cups of cream to soft ball stage (235F), stirring often. Once you've reached the soft ball stage, slowly add the other 2 cups of cream and continue to boil. Boil to firm ball stage (245F) stirring often. Add the vanilla, nuts (if using), paraffin (if using) and chocolate (again, if using). Pour into the prepared  cookie sheet. Allow them to cool for at least 45 minutes. While you're waiting for the caramels to cool, cut up waxed paper into 2"x3" strips to wrap the finished caramels in. Once they're cooled off, use a butter knife  (or a pizza cutter if you're lazy) and cut the caramels into your desired shapes.

When you're wrapping the caramels, grease your *clean* hands and make sure all your jewelry is removed, it'll keep you from getting so sticky. ***Paraffin wax is sold under the brand name Gulf Wax in most stores in the canning supplies area, it makes the caramels less sticky and more flexible. You can omit it, just be prepared for stickier caramels.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Kitchen Magic" and my Apple Crisp Recipe

So, my friends seem to think I have "kitchen magic" or something.... I disagree, I just have lots of practice cooking and a lot of recipes :) Sorry for the ramble, I don't think I'm fully awake yet... freaking time change.

Anyways, without further ado, here if my oft requested Apple Crisp recipe

Apple Crisp:
4 C Sliced, peeled granny smith apples***
3/4 C Brown sugar
1/2 C Flour (see previous post for my flour recipe)
1/2 C Oats (check labels, some are produced on the same equipment as wheat)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1/3 C Butter, melted

Grease an 8" square pan (if you run some of the butter around the pan it tastes even better), place apple slices in pan. Mix remaining ingredients thoroughly, sprinkle evenly over apples. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown and crunchy.

***This goes waaaay faster if you use either a mandolin or the straight blade on the side of most cheese graters

Note: I have a tendency to sample the crisp topping (its really good :) ) so, sometimes I make a double batch so it won't be short on topping if I sample too much....

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies And a Flour Recipe

Cookies are kinda the bomb.
I love baking, and before all this happened it was not unusual for me to show up to the ChemE computer lab with a big box of cookies for anyone who happened to be there. Since I've become allergic I haven't been baking much until now and I swear that the smell of baking cookies has become even harder to resist. That, and cake. I love king cake (the stuff you eat on mardi gras? if you don't know what I'm talking about you're missing out), and at my best friend's last party I made a seriously bad life choice and tried to eat some.... you know, cause nothing says party like getting hives! 

Anyways, without further ado here is a wheat free flour recipe and a recipe for chocolate chip cookies!

For the "flour": huge thank you to Gluten Free Mom for the flour recipe!
2 C. brown rice flour (the super finely ground stuff! check out bob's red mill brand, whole foods or try the asian market)
2/3 C. potato starch
1/3 C. tapioca flour (aka: tapioca starch)
Mix everything together in a canister, simple as that! You can alter the amounts, just keep the proportions the same. Don't try to use this flour recipe for bread, it just doesn't work! 
Also, this tastes and acts a lot like wheat flour, but it doesn't absorb greasy ingredients quite as well for some reason - so if your recipe has  "high altitude" instructions, use them!
Now for the secret ingredient: Xanthan Gum
This basically acts like the gluten in wheat flour, making your cookies chewy and cakes springy. Don't skip it because you think it might be hard to find... I actually found mine at Reasors, which was a total surprise.
You'll want to add it in the following amounts depending on what you're making:
For cakes add 1/2 tsp per cup of flour mix
For cookies add 1/4 tsp per cup of flour mix

Chocolate Chip Cookies, shamelessly modified from the recipe on the chocolate chip bag :)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (or more if the dough seems too gooey)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (or the equivalent non dairy stuff)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (make sure you check the label, some brands are not gluten free)
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) chocolate chips (you can find milk-free chocolate chips at whole foods)
Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture, if the dough seems really runny or greasy add more flour 1/4 cup at a time. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown, these bake a lot faster than normal chocolate chip cookies and they dry out more... try to avoid making hockey puck cookies! Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Soup Love :)

I love soup, all kinds of soup. I don't care how warm it is outside, give me a hot bowl of soup and I'm a happy girl. One of the reasons I love soup: It's really cheap and it freezes well! I am a college student after all, and there's nothing worse than coming back after lab and HYSYS sessions and not having anything to eat... used to be that on those days I would either go out to eat or grab some overprocessed freezer meal. Now going out to eat without getting hives is next to impossible and companies seem to think that if they put gluten free on the label they can charge three times as much... so on the weekends I cook up a bunch of soup and stick it in the freezer and eat off of it during the week when I'm too tired (or lazy) to cook.

I can't take all the credit for these recipes. My mom is a pretty amazing cook and has given me lots of yummy soup recipes since I started cooking for myself. Here are a few of my favorites:

Butternut Squash Soup: 
this freezes really well and is great for when butternut squash is on sale, seriously you can make a huge pot of this soup for less than $5!
1 Tbsp butter (or dairy free alternative)
1 Onion, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp chopped sage
3-4 lbs cubed butternut squash (peeled and seeded)
5 C chicken or vegetable stock
1/3 C grated Parmesan (optional)
24 fresh sage leaves and 2 Tbsp butter (garnish)

Melt the 1 Tbsp of butter and saute onion until soft. Add sage and stir 1 minute. Add the squash and broth, increase heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer about 25 minutes until squash is tender. Cool slightly, then puree (those little stick blenders work really well). Mix in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. 

In a fry pan, melt the 2 Tbsp butter and saute the sage leaves until brown and crispy. 

Serve the soup with a swirl of cream, Parmesan cheese and the sage leaves. 

Avgolemono Soup (Greek Egg Lemon and Rice Soup):
2 quarts chicken (or vegetable) broth
1/2 C long grain rice
salt and pepper
4 large eggs
1/3 C lemon juice
1/4 C water

Bring broth and rice to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is tender (15-20 minutes). Remove from heat and season with the salt and pepper. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon juice and water. Temper the egg mixture by slowly adding a little hot broth and whisking the mixture to make sure the eggs don't scramble. Add more hot broth, whisking well, until the egg mixture is hot. Add the egg mixture into the broth and heat until warm, do not boil! Serve immediately

note: you can make this with leftover rice, just reduce the amount of broth by 1/2 C. :)

Garlic Soup:
this is an old German recipe from my Mom's family.
3 large heads of garlic and boiling water to cover
2 Quarts cold water
4 bouillon cubes
a dash of cloves
1/4 tsp sage
2 Tbsp fresh parsley
1/4 tsp thyme
2 Tbsp oil
3 egg yolks
1/4 C melted butter (or dairy free margarine)
salt and pepper
grated swiss cheese and gluten free bread (cheese crouton!)

Separate the garlic into cloves and place in a bowl, cover with boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain, peel and crush the garlic with the side of a knife. Put the water, bouillon cubes, 1/2 tsp pepper, herbs and oil into a large pot. Add the garlic, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Beat the egg yolks until thick and gradually beat in the melted butter. Temper the egg mixture (see previous recipe for procedure) with the hot soup then pour into the soup, beating constantly. Heat the soup but do not boil it!
Place a slice of  buttered bread in the soup bowl (I recommend Udi's gluten free) and sprinkle in some of the swiss. Pour the hot soup over the top and serve!

I hope everyone enjoys these recipes as much as I have! Have an awesome weekend!

Fish Tacos!

So here's what I made for dinner, it turned out really well and it was just right for a nice, sunny day:

Fish Tacos with Peach Relish (Serves 4)
For the Relish:
2 medium peeled peaches, stones and woody bits removed
1/2 red onion roughly chopped
2 Tbsp cilantro
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 Jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
For the Fish:
1/2 C crushed rice chex (I mean crushed, like powdered!Or use gluten free breadcrumbs)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb mild white fish, cut up in strips (tilapia or flounder fillets)
8 (6 inch) corn tortillas (mission brand is gluten free)

Combine the ingredients for the relish in a food processor, process until salsa-like :) Let sit for about 30 minutes so the flavors can mingle.

Preheat the oven to 375F

Combine the chex, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the fish to the bowl and toss to coat. Place the fish in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 375F for 10 minutes or until desired degree of doneness, turning once.

Heat up the tortillas according to the packaging. Put the fish on the tortillas and serve with the relish!

Welcome to My Blog!

Welcome to my blog!
I guess I should start out with a bit of info about me...
A big part of my life right now: I'm in school to become a chemical engineer! I graduate in May and I'm moving out east for a job!
Also, I'm allergic to wheat and milk. The wheat allergy is way worse than the milk one, but this is all very new.

So here's my allergy story:
About 3 days before valentines day this year I woke up in the morning with hives on my face. I have always had allergies to almost everything outside but never bad enough to give me hives. I had them the next two mornings as well, but I put some hydrocortizone cream on them and they went away. On valentines day I started feeling really warm and itchy after lunch and it felt like I had a lump in my throat, I just figured it was cause it was nice out and things were blooming or I was tired or getting a cold, something innocuous.... when I got back from classes and looked in the mirror, I found out I had hives ALL OVER MY BODY! I called my best friend and we went to the urgent care, at urgent care I got used as a human pincushion (so many IV bruises!) and they gave me enough benadryl and steroids to kill a horse. When I didn't start to get better they decided to send me to the ER... which meant a really long and uncomfortable wait for several hours and more steroids and more benadryl. Seriously, by the time I left the ER that night I was high as a kite... I went to a real allergy doctor the next day, who decided I should try to avoid milk, wheat, chicken and peanuts - they were all things I had eaten before I had the reaction. Through a combination of self-experimentation and medical intervention, we figured out I'm allergic to milk and wheat.

I've been wheat free for almost a month now, and dairy free for a fair bit of that, and I feel so much better! Not only am I not breaking out in hives every day, I'm eating healthier, I have more energy and my digestion has finally settled down (sorry if that's TMI, but I'm happy about it!). I can't remember the last time (before now) I actually got my 5 a day!

This blog is going to be a place for all the recipes I create on my journey through this wheat and dairy filled world! I hope you'll join me on that journey and enjoy the recipes I post! If there's ever anything you want me to try out let me know, I'll always take on a challenge!